Cicero

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Cicero : biography

January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC

Cicero’s son, Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor, during his year as a consul in 30 BC, avenged his father’s death, to a certain extent, when he announced to the Senate Mark Antony’s naval defeat at Actium in 31 BC by Octavian and his capable commander-in-chief, Agrippa.

Octavian (or Augustus, as he was later called) is reported to have praised Cicero as a patriot and a scholar of meaning in later times, within the circle of his family.Plutarch, Cicero, However, it was the acquiescence of Augustus that allowed Cicero’s assassination, as Cicero was proscribed by the new Triumvirate.

However, his career as a statesman was marked by inconsistencies and a tendency to shift his position in response to changes in the political climate. His indecision may be attributed to his sensitive and impressionable personality; he was prone to overreaction in the face of political and private change. "Would that he had been able to endure prosperity with greater self control, and adversity with more fortitude!" wrote C. Asinius Pollio, a contemporary Roman statesman and historian.Haskell, H.J.:"This was Cicero" (1964) p.296Castren and Pietilä-Castren: "Antiikin käsikirja" /"Handbook of antiquity" (2000) p.237

Family

Cicero married Terentia probably at the age of 27, in 79 BC. According to the upper class mores of the day it was a marriage of convenience, but endured harmoniously for some 30 years. Terentia’s family was wealthy, probably the plebeian noble house of Terenti Varrones, thus meeting the needs of Cicero’s political ambitions in both economic and social terms. She had a half sister (or perhaps first cousin) named Fabia, who as a child had become a Vestal Virgin, a very great honour. Terentia was a strong willed woman and (citing Plutarch) "she took more interest in her husband’s political career than she allowed him to take in household affairs."Rawson, E.: "Cicero, a portrait" (1975) p.25

In the 50s BC, Cicero’s letters to Terentia became shorter and colder. He complained to his friends that Terentia had betrayed him but did not specify in which sense. Perhaps the marriage simply could not outlast the strain of the political upheaval in Rome, Cicero’s involvement in it, and various other disputes between the two. The divorce appears to have taken place in 51 BC or shortly before.Susan Treggiari, Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: the women of Cicero’s family, London: Routledge, 2007, pp. 76f. In 46 or 45 BC,Treggiari, op. cit., p. 133 Cicero married a young girl, Publilia, who had been his ward. It is thought that Cicero needed her money, particularly after having to repay the dowry of Terentia, who came from a wealthy family.Rawson, E.: Cicero p.225 This marriage did not last long.

Although his marriage to Terentia was one of convenience, it is commonly known that Cicero held great love for his daughter Tullia.Haskell H.J.: This was Cicero, p.95 When she suddenly became ill in February 45 BC and died after having seemingly recovered from giving birth to a son in January, Cicero was stunned. "I have lost the one thing that bound me to life" he wrote to Atticus.Haskell, H.J.:"This was Cicero" (1964) p.249 Atticus told him to come for a visit during the first weeks of his bereavement, so that he could comfort him when his pain was at its greatest. In Atticus’s large library, Cicero read everything that the Greek philosophers had written about overcoming grief, "but my sorrow defeats all consolation."Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 12.14. Rawson, E.: Cicero p. 225 Caesar and Brutus as well as Servius Sulpicius Rufus sent him letters of condolence.Rawson, E.:Cicero p.226Cicero, Samtliga brev/Collected letters

Cicero hoped that his son Marcus would become a philosopher like him, but Marcus himself wished for a military career. He joined the army of Pompey in 49 BC and after Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus 48 BC, he was pardoned by Caesar. Cicero sent him to Athens to study as a disciple of the peripatetic philosopher Kratippos in 48 BC, but he used this absence from "his father’s vigilant eye" to "eat, drink and be merry." After Cicero’s murder he joined the army of the Liberatores but was later pardoned by Augustus. Augustus’ bad conscience for not having objected to Cicero’s being put on the proscription list during the Second Triumvirate led him to aid considerably Marcus Minor’s career. He became an augur, and was nominated consul in 30 BC together with Augustus. As such, he was responsible for revoking the honors of Mark Antony, who was responsible for the proscription, and could in this way take revenge. Later he was appointed proconsul of Syria and the province of Asia.Paavo Castren & L. Pietilä-Castren: Antiikin käsikirja/Encyclopedia of the Ancient World